a children's book by munro leaf, illustrated by robert lawson. ferdinand is the story of a bull who doesn't want to fight, who would rather peacefully spend his days sitting beneath the cork tree smelling the flowers. ferdinand is also an icon, the uses for which range from reminder of childhood to statement in favor of pacifism. in 1938, disney made a cartoon based on the story and, to their credit, heavily inspired by lawson's artwork. it won the academy award for the year. disney now owns the rights to everything involving ferdinand, and have used that position to produce cheesy 'collectibles.' the city of vancouver, british columbia, has a statue of ferdinand, or a bull who owes a lot to ferdinand for his inspiration, right near downtown (i believe).

a simple synopsis of the story would go like this: ferdinand would not play with the other bulls he lived with; he only wanted to sit, smelling the flowers. but one day, men came in search of a bull for the bullfights. and it just happened that ferdinand was stung by a bee, causing him to thrash around, and also causing them to think that he was the fiercest of the bulls. so they took him to fight, but he would not. he only sat in the ring, smelling the flowers from the hats of the ladies in the audience. and so they took him home to his cork tree again.

you can find the complete text at http://www.bossanova.com/rebeca/readme/readme.9.23.97.html

also, someone wrote a poem which depicts both more realistically and more morbidly how ferdinand's story may have gone, were it not for children: http://www.author-me.com/poetry/ferdinand.htm

but it's a children's book and the illustrations are at least half of any children's book. they probably have it at your local library..

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